Tuesday's SportsNation chat was our final chance to hash through our offseason themes before watching them put into practice when training camp begins. The impact of Chicago Bears tight end Martellus Bennett has been a consistently hot topic in our chats and general conversations, and here is where we landed Tuesday:
Victor (San Diego)
Does the Bears TE Bennett have a chance to catch 60+ balls this year? If yes would you agree that almost guarantees 10 wins?
Kevin Seifert (2:49 PM)
Yes, he does have that chance. And no, I don't think that will have a huge impact on the Bears' winning percentage. Those receptions could be in all kinds of different -- and opposing -- situations.
Yes, he does have that chance. And no, I don't think that will have a huge impact on the Bears' winning percentage. Those receptions could be in all kinds of different -- and opposing -- situations.....I think he meant the team offense would obviously be better this year if they actually involved a TE, better offense being the key to victories in 2013. Wouldn't you agree?
Kevin Seifert (2:55 PM)
Oh, of course. But if you wanted to look at a number that would connect those thoughts better, maybe consider touchdown catches. If he has 8-10, then I think the Bears are well on their way.
I spent some time Wednesday morning fiddling with the databases at pro-football-reference.com and elsewhere. I can't pretend that there is an obvious connection between the individual statistics of a tight end and a team's winning percentage, but I hope we all would agree that touchdowns are more significant than receptions.
To be clear, a 60-catch season would be impressive. Last season, for example, only 10 tight ends reached that level. Five played on winning teams. Meanwhile, five NFL tight ends caught at least eight touchdown passes. Three of them were on winning teams.
Here is a link to all 71 instances since the 1970 merger when a tight end has caught at least eight touchdown passes. Do with it what you will.
In all seriousness, I know what you guys are saying. The Bears need better production from their tight ends, and if they get it from Bennett, the assumption is it will come in addition to another good season from Brandon Marshall and perhaps a blossoming of Alshon Jeffery. Such across-the-board production would be nothing but good for the Bears in 2013.